Welcome to the July 2018 newsletter from Psychology Tools. This month’s edition contains news about the recent updates to the website as well as research summaries focusing on mindfulness, imagery rescripting, and the cognitive science of depression.
New On Psychology Tools
WELCOME TO THE NEW WEBSITE
In June we launched our biggest ever update to Psychology Tools. As well as adding 30 new worksheets we made it easier for anyone to access resources for self-help. You can find out more about how to access the resources here.
The Compassionate Thought Challenging Record contains traditional thought challenging elements but encourages clients to focus on generating responses to automatic thoughts which are imbued with self-compassion. Clients who struggle with self-criticism are particularly likely to benefit from this approach.
Worksheets, handouts, and information resources are now available in 52 languages, with the latest addition being Hindi. We’re always adding more resources and translations so check back often.
Psychology News & Articles
“IT’S NOTHING LIKE BROKEN LEG”
A powerful and painfully acute article about one person’s experience of Britain’s mental health system from the inside. A must-read wherever you are.
“I instinctively love the NHS, from the junior doctors to the consultants to the community psychiatric nurses.
But, really, if you asked me right now? I hate the NHS. I hate the thin film of skin on its bones. It is incompetent and ailing. I used to blame the system. Mostly it is the system: those never-ending cuts and closures; the bureaucracy; the constant snafus of communication; the government’s contempt for staff.
But sometimes, that system gets inside the staff, too. It is there when you are asked the same questions by 20 professionals, in a time of great distress, and then reprimanded for anger when you snap the 21st time. It is there when you are asked to fill out a form to assess a service, after being told you won’t receive that service until two birthdays in the future.”
A fantastic film about experiences of taking psychiatric medication. Well worth 27 minutes of your time.
WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST, BUT WE CAN CHANGE IT’S MEANING
Imagery rescripting (IR) is an established treatment for intrusive memories and has demonstrated effectiveness across a number of disorders (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005791616301768) . A new study published in Behavior Research & Therapy tested whether a giving depressed patients a stand-alone IR intervention, in the form of a self-help manual, could prove helpful.
“IR, particularly when patients used the long version of the manual, led to improvement in a sample of depressed patients at a medium effect size on various parameters. The self-help technique was well-received by patients and did not result in side effects. Participants with more severe symptoms (statistical trend), more confidence in the technique, and greater readiness to change benefited most from the technique.”
- Link to the abstract
- Link to “Like a phoenix from the ashes” imagery rescripting manual used in the trial
MINDFULNESS IS HELPFUL FOR TINNITUS
In the first of two mindfulness articles this month, Laurence McKenna and colleagues compared an 8-week minfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) group (adapted to include psychoeducation around the CBT model of tinnitus (https://www.psychologytools.com/worksheet/cognitive-behavioral-model-of-tinnitus-2014/) ) with an 8-week relaxation group for patients with chronic tinnitus. Both groups showed reductions in tinnitus severity and psychological distress, with greater reductions in the MBCT group. The small to moderate effect sizes when compared with the relaxation group appear comparable to those observed in comparisons of CBT with active control conditions (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027273581000200X?via%3Dihub) , and indicate that MBCT is a potentially beneficial treatment for tinnitus.
MINDFULNESS IS NOT HELPFUL FOR ACUTE PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS
There is evidence that mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an useful approach for preventing relapse in depression (although perhaps less effective when compared to active control conditions). A new systematic review and meta-analysis has looked at the the use of mindfulness based interventions in acute phase of mental health problems. The results were not promising and indicate that established evidence-based interventions should be first-line treatments.
“The results showed that the average effect size for [Mindfulness Based Interventions] MBIs across all comparison conditions was small (g = 0.28) and that it was only significantly superior to non-active control conditions. Moderator analyses showed that lower study quality and longer treatment duration were related to larger effect sizes. Furthermore, subgroup analyses revealed that depression was the only disorder for which the effects were significant.”
COGNITIVE SCIENCE OF DEPRESSION
This paper by LeMoult and Gotlib in Clinical Psychology Review provides an excellent overview of decades of research findings underlying our current understanding of depression. If you are interested in the cognitive science of depression that underpins treatment this paper is worth reading.
“Not only do depressed individuals exhibit negative cognitive biases, but they also fail to show the positive cognitive biases that likely serve as protective factors for healthy control participants. Specifically, depression is characterized by negatively biased interpretation of ambiguous information, difficulty disengaging from negative material that has captured their attention or has entered working memory, and overgeneral positive autobiographical memories that interfere with depressed persons’ ability to use positive memories to repair negative mood states.”